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07.06.16

Minister unable to confirm adequacy of learning disability services

The government cannot say whether adequate services are available in hospital for patients with learning disabilities, the minister for community and social care admitted in response to a parliamentary written question yesterday.

When answering five questions from Jonathan Reynolds, Labour MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, Alistair Burt said that there are currently 2,565 inpatients with learning difficulties on assessment and treatment units, of whom 600 also have a mental illness.

However, he was unable to confirm that all the patients had access to an independent mental health advocate (IMHA), instead saying: “We would expect assessment and treatment units to follow their statutory obligations to ensure patients have access to an IMHA where appropriate.”

Similarly, Burt was unable to confirm that all such wards provide patients with access to autistic specialist services, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy.

He could only say: “We would therefore expect all patients, irrespective of inpatient setting, to have access to the treatment and therapeutic interventions they require.”

He also said the government had no records on how many complaints have been made about the patient care and management on assessment and treatment units because the information was not held centrally.

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